Roof space conversionsIf you want to convert your roof space you should always contact our Building Control service and the Planning Service before you begin any work. It's important that you contact us yourself. Do not get your builder or contractor to do this for you.
You might not need planning permission from the Planning Service but you'll always need to make a Building Regulations application.
Building ControlIf you want to convert your roof space you must make a Building Regulations application to our Building Control service. We'll help you make sure that the work carried out is safe and complies with the Building Regulations.
You, or your builder, must inform us when the work starts and when you reach different stages of the work so we can inspect it and check it meets the Building Regulations.
Video clipDonal Rogan from Building Control recently showed Linda McAuley from BBC Radio Ulster round a typical three bedroom Belfast house to demonstrate how we can help you make sure that your roof space conversion is safe and complies with the Building Regulations. You can watch the video on the BBC Radio Ulster website
Is a roof space conversion right for you?Before deciding to convert your roof space you need to make sure that it'll be suitable for your needs. Think about the following:
- Can you stand up in the roof? How much clearance is there above your head? Headroom clearance over the stairs and on the landing at the top of the stairs must be a minimum of two metres.
- How will you get into the roof space? Will you need to build the stairs in an existing bedroom or from the landing? Stairs from a bedroom will mean losing the use of that room, so unless you're getting a larger bedroom or possibly two more bedrooms it may not be worth the expense.
- What is the existing roof structure like? Does it have roof trusses or timber beams supporting the roof joists? In both cases you'll probably have to provide a new floor because the ceiling joists won't be suitable to act as a floor. A trussed roof will require additional support because the wooden supports will have been cut away. You may need to get more advice from a qualified structural engineer.
Lightweight storageIf you plan to use the roof space to store lightweight items such as suitcases, general household items and so on, loose boarding with a ladder for access is usually suitable. You don't need to apply to us for this.
Ceiling joists are generally not meant to act as a floor and are not designed to support heavy loads. So, if you plan to use the roof space for anything other than lightweight storage, it's important that you fit a proper floor. In this case you'll need Building Regulations approval.
If you plan to install a fixed stairway, you must apply to us for approval even if you only plan to use the roof space for lightweight storage.
Why do I need to apply for approval?We enforce the Building Regulations to make sure that buildings are built and altered to acceptable standards.
If work has been carried out without Building Regulations approval, this is often discovered when a house is being sold. This can delay and sometimes prevent a house sale.
Roof space conversions are not straightforward. They should be designed and built by people who are fully aware of all relevant fire safety, structural stability and general health and safety matters.
If your builder, joiner or contractor tells you that you do not have to make a Building Regulations application they are mistaken and aren't giving you the correct information.
You can find out more information about roof space conversions in our Guidance note 9: Roof-space conversions: Converting your attic storage space to extend your home
PlanningA planning application isn't needed when the work is totally within the existing roof space. Roof lights are allowed to the front and rear of the property. If they're installed to the roof that faces onto a road, they aren't allowed to project more than 150 millimetres above the tiles or slates.
Planning permission is required for dormer windows or other extensions if they're installed to a roof that faces onto a road but they aren't permitted on a hip roof.
For more information, download the Planning Service guide for householders: Your Home and Planning Permission or visit the Planning Service website
Radio advertisementsYou can listen to our current radio advertisement. The audio clip lasts for 30 seconds and opens in a new window. If you can't hear the advertisements, you can download a transcript of the clips below.
- Download transcript of 'Are you think about converting your roof space?' advertisement (Word - 28KB)